It’s fall again, and that means that soon, the Vancouver Aquarium will be flooded with students taking part in hands-on education programs, both behind the scenes and throughout the galleries. This September, however, there’s a new program joining the line-up: the FortisBC AquaGuide.

The new initiative is being offered in partnership with FortisBC. Sarah Evans, who is running the program as coordinator of curriculum programs, describes the FortisBC AquaGuide as “a new, engaging way to learn about energy conservation, while challenging students to rethink the way they use energy in their day to day lives.”

The FortisBC AquaGuide is a self-directed, scavenger-hunt type program that takes place in the galleries of the Vancouver Aquarium. Students use printed game cards, or access mobile versions through their smart phones, to complete simple activities related to how animals use and conserve energy in their daily lives. “The students love exploring the galleries on their own, with the game cards or mobile devices to guide them, while teachers love the interactive nature of the program, as well as the flexibility the program offers,” Sarah enthuses.

A close-up look at the FortisBC AquaGuide cards

A close-up look at the FortisBC AquaGuide cards

Once students have completed the on-site portion of the program at the Aquarium, they are required to complete two online energy audits at home in order to learn how they use and conserve energy in their daily lives. Through interactive, online resources, students are also exposed to simple behavioural changes and energy-saving strategies. While direct-action initiatives such as this are nothing new to the Aquarium and its visitors, the FortisBC AquaGuide does mark the first time we’ll be able to track how our conservation education lessons are applied outside of the Aquarium

As if that wasn’t enough, once the on-site portion and energy audits are complete, each student is entered into a draw in which they have the chance to win a mobile tablet.

The FortisBC AquaGuide experience is available to students in grades 7-12 who are taking part in one of the Aquarium’s many school programs offered throughout the academic year, or as a self-guided tour. The program will be running Monday to Friday, until the end of June. For more information, visit here.

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